Fifty-three newly degreed RNs will embark on a career in home healthcare after completing the Visiting Nurse Service of New Yorks nursing internship program. The nine-month-long program culminated in a graduation ceremony Oct. 1 at VNSNYs New York City offices.
In her congratulatory speech, VNSNY President Mary Ann Christopher, RN, MSN, FAAN, expressed her appreciation for the effort interns put forth during the program.
You who have completed the program are the promise of our future, she said.
This years class of interns included nurses hailing from a variety of professional backgrounds. Twenty-four of the interns are second-career RNs who have worked in education, business, law, architecture and engineering.
One such nurse, Steven Strong, RN, an intern speaker at the event, was an assistant to the city planning director in an Ohio town and an analyst for a software company before taking a job as a clerk in a hospital.
Working in the hospital, I saw that the nurses were stressed and harried, but they came to work without fail every day, he said. I saw that they loved their jobs.
That experience, along with watching his mother receive care from home hospice nurses, prompted Strong to pursue a career as a home health nurse.
I wanted to offer the kind of care my mother had received from home health nurses, he said.
For intern Ayana Ama Culley, RN, the call to nursing came right after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast.
I wanted to help heal, but I wasnt a healthcare professional at the time and didnt have the clinical skills necessary, said Culley, who served as the intern reflection speaker for this years class.
Culley said the internship program is based on a VNSNY value of always advocating for the patient. During a recent day of her internship, this belief enabled her to react swiftly when she thought a patient was in crisis.
Culley had been scheduled to make a visit and upon calling the home, the home health attendant informed her the patient was sleeping. Based on previous visits with the patient, Culley thought it was strange the patient would be napping at that time. Culleys instincts told her something wasnt right, and she made the visit anyway.
When I got there, I found the patient to be unresponsive and immediately sent her to the hospital, she said. I felt like I saved her life that day.
The VNSNY Registered Nurse Internship program began in 2001. Many of its graduates continue to serve as clinical advisers, preceptors and mentors to incoming interns, which Christopher said is a testament to the value of the program.
What better gift in any profession than to be able to help shepherd the next group who will care for our patients? she said.
Tracey Boyd is a regional reporter.